La Vega. It’s a typical Cuban sugar town. Most of the the men work at the factory and live in apartments provided by the State. Their kids go to the local school and communist slogans are everywhere. Vega also has a pharmacy and a health clinic. Unlike almost anywhere else in Cuba here there are no lines. They treat everything from motorcycle accidents to pregnancies. Both the doctor and the medicines are free. But Vega has something even more unusual – its very own guardian angel. Angelina is a family doctor. Two days each week she walks house-to-house checking up on everyone inside. She sees each of her 2,000 patients – even if they’re healthy – at least twice a year This may be why Cuba’s infant mortality is on par with the United States. She also takes the time to discuss their lifestyles, relationships, and anything that might be causing them stress. The young boy can’t take his eyes off her blood pressure cuff. A future doctor? Not unlikely – in Cuba, medical school is free. Her last patient is schizophrenic and lives alone. Five days ago she was dizzy – probably another episode. Something doesn’t quite add up and Angelina won’t leave until she’s figured out what’s really going on. A random comment tips her off. Because of doctors like Angelina Cubans can now expect to live as
long as Western Europeans. Angelina doesn’t have a car. She hitchhikes to work whenever possible to save money. Today she wants to get home quickly so she takes the bus. it’s still a grueling, 45-minute ride with an unexpected reward. Her husband and 5-year-old daughter are waiting when she gets off. And for good reason… Tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve and Angelina’s making Imperial Rice – one of the most elaborate meals of the year. They’ve been buying food for days. Angelina is no barefoot doctor. Her medical training is as good
as a degree in the United States. She’s extremely bright and caring and she believes utterly in the communist way. She doesn’t think she should get
special privileges because of her education. Nor does she seem to mind
their tiny, one bedroom apartment. Or having to work two full days
to buy her family a can of spam. She’s proud of her new rice cooker and deep fryer both issued by the State. And the ‘fridge is her most prized possession. It take center stage. And yet they only have running water one hour a day. If she’s not home when it turns on then she has to go to her in-laws to wash clothes. Cuba has more doctors per capita than any other country in the world. The government sends some 20,000
of them overseas each year. If Angelina agreed to go then she would earn better housing and perhaps even her own car when she came back. But she would have to leaver her
husband and daughter behind. Tonight at least, they’re going to eat well. Bon appetit! And if you enjoyed this video, please subscribe to Our Human Planet.